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(Steeplejack #2)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. When government plans for a secret weapon are stolen, their investigation leads right to the doorsteps of the city’s superexclusive social club, Elitus. Ang has a chance to catch the thief, but only if she can ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Tor Teen
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
In an fantasy country inspired by South Africa a young woman from one of the minority populations builds on her new position to face a plot that affects the city where she lives and international politics.

Anglet Atonga is now secure in the employment of an up and coming politician when she stumbles on a plot with ramifications for all sides of politics, the progressive party of her employer, the nationalist ruling party and the extreme white supremacy party. The latter is gaining popularity as t
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
[Dual Review - Both 4 stars]

Steeplejack and Firebrand [click here for a US & Canada GIVEAWAY of both titles] were two of the most unique books I’ve ever read – the type of stories that continue to resonate long after you finish them!

The books were successful on several accounts. The “whodunit” detective mystery was engaging, made all the more compelling by Anglet’s (the main character) personal stake in solving the crime. Her involvement felt more organic than not, and the passages dedicated to
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
Just for the record, this book did not take a month to read. I had an excessive number of ILL and holds come in all at once and I had to put this story on hold. The reality is it took about 3-4 days to read.

This is seriously one of the hardest series to pigeon-hole into a category.

BSG: Welcome back crazy voice in my head! I have not heard much from you since I reviewed The Night Circus.

CVIMH: Yeah, well I been waiting for you to let your freak flag fly and today you opened the crazy gate! WooH
*Source* Library
*Genre* Young Adult, Steampunk
*Rating* 3.5-4

*MY Thoughts*

Firebrand is the second installment in author A.J. Hartley's Alternative Detective series. This is a world that I have best described as being an alternative reality of 19th century South Africa. In this world, Bar-Selehm is home to 17-year old Protagonist Anglet Sutonga. Ang is a former Steeplejack, a Lani who has seen the worst sort of discrimination because of her skin color, and now works as a undercover detective for J
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This exciting sequel reads like a murder mystery but is much more a dynamic social commentary that is as timely as it is compelling. The book is expertly written, never preaching or pointing fingers, but subtly applying pressure to examine race issues, gender inequalities, microaggressions, and socio-economic problems in our culture. The pace is unrelenting, hurtling the reader through one nail-biting scene after another, connecting the seemingly unrelated series of events into a satisfying conc ...more
Jessica Strider
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Pros: excellent world-building, interconnected plot, great characters


Grappoli is invading more native territory, sending refugees fleeing to the city of their enemy, Bar-Selehm. But Bar-Selehm’s politicians aren’t sympathetic to the refugees’ plight, and some believe the time to unite with their white brothers of Grappoli, at the expense of the black and brown lower classes of their own city, has arrived. When important military papers are stolen, a clue sends Anglet Sutonga to an exclusiv
Dear Mr Hartley,
Please accept my humble apology. I am unable at this time to write a review of Firebrand, for reasons which are far too mundane to go into here (i.e. life gets complicated sometimes). I really wanted to have written a stellar one, since, in all likelihood, I'll be meeting you at JordanCon next week. (In theory I'd be the one wearing the sign that says "Sorry I didn't get to review your book before meeting you" -- though more likely I'll just be wearing a sheepish grin on my face.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just really love this series. I love the world building, I love the amount and variety and predominance of female characters and I love the themes, issues and story lines Hartley chooses to explore. I can't wait to see where this series goes next. ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the action and mysteries of these books, as well as the social justice themes. I see in book three the villain’s goal is to ”make Bar-Selehm great again”, so I’m looking forward to reading about his defeat!
Janine Spendlove
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Definitely an allegory for modern day politics -- and a very good one at that. Did the audio book & found I couldn't stop listening to it. As every the mystery and intrigue sucks you right in. ...more
Jess N
Jun 08, 2021 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 09, 2017 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF. It kills me to, because I've liked everything ELSE I've read by this author, but this one just isn't for me. I made it through the first one, but didn't love it. I decided to give the second a shot, but it's just not my genre. ...more
My prevailing thought when I finished FIREBRAND this afternoon? This is turning out to be a fantastic series. :)

This sequel retains a lot of what made STEEPLEJACK a special novel: a compelling protagonist, a mind-turning mystery, heart-pumping suspense, and breathlessly believable worldbuilding. And while STEEPLEJACK introduced us to the racial and social class tensions inherent in Bar-Selehm, FIREBRAND fearlessly yet sensitively shows those conflicts coming to a head, drawing from current-day
Kara Babcock
Mike Heath is back at it again with that great cover art. Ugh. That angled title. Yes.

Yes yes yes yes yes.

Oh, and A.J. Hartley wrote a book that goes between these covers. It’s pretty good too.

What, you want more? OK, fine.

Firebrand is one of those sequels that comes out swinging, delivering more of what you loved about the first book without any of that messy “middle book” syndrome that so often afflicts trilogies/series. If anything, it’s more compelling, more interesting, more full of risky s
H. P.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-sf
I was all kinds of impressed by Hartley’s Steeplejack. Firebrand improves on it. Hartley is more confident in his story, his setting, and his characters, and it shows. Ang Sutonga is back as a private detective/secret agent for parliamentary backbencher Josiah Willinghouse, and she has a new mystery to solve. Ang may no longer repair chimneys and clocktowers as a steeplejack, but rest assured that much of the action takes place above street level. And Hartley continues to handle hot button issue ...more
Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher exchange for a honest review.

I haven’t read the first book in the Alternative Detective series, but I had no problems following the story in Firebrand. In this follow-up to Steeplejack, we find Anglet, a former Steeplejack working as a private detective/spy for parliament member, Willinghouse. After blueprints for a machine gun gets stolen and a wave of refugees goes missing; Angl is sent into the inner sanctum of the elite society to find
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pre-2020-read
I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Anglet is back with another mystery. This time she is chasing after a thief that stole the plans for a secret weapon. In the midst of this mysterious theft Bar-Selehm is going through their own refugee crisis. This mystery takes Ang deeper into the social elite of Bar-Selehm, places that even her benefactor cannot go. She must learn to become, not just pretend, that she is someone other than herself. The deeper that the my
Kathy Martin
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this sequel to STEEPLEJACK. Ang has another mystery to solve. Plans for a new weapon are stolen and her boss Josiah Willinghouse sets her on the path to find them. Along the way, she pretends to be a foreign princess to gain entry to an exclusive club with links to the theft and finds herself becoming involved with the refugee problem in her city.

Ang is a fascinating character. She is an ethnic minority in a city which gives minorities less value. In fact, a new movement in Par
William Bentrim
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Firebrand by A. J. Hartley

This is the second book set in a future where whites, blacks and browns live in uneasy harmony. Anglet Sutonga is a teenage steeplejack. One of if not the premier steeplejack in Bar-Selhem turned private eye or perhaps special agent. Someone has stolen some documents and her personal government official tasks her with finding them.

Hartley did an excellent job creating a community that seems to combine aspects of Victorian society with a respect for the press and uneasy
Ajay Ollis
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Firebrand was a great and worthy follow-up to Steeplejack. It continued following the incredible MC, Ang Sutonga, in her unofficial investigator role. This time around, blueprints of a secret weapon are stolen, and to get to the bottom of it, Ang has to learn some new techniques to blend in with the in-crowd of Bar-Selehm's most elite club. New characters, deplorable and loveable are introduced, along with many returning cast from the first book. This one had a slower build-up compared to the fi ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I saw that the heroine is a spy I knew I had to read this book then you add in that this book takes place in Africa well and alternative Africa and I was hooked. I haven't read any books set there so I was excited to read this one and A.J. doesnt disappoint. I loved the main character Ang. She is what you want a heroine to be and I instantly connected to her from page one. As much as I love Ang and all the other characters what really had me hooked on this book is that A.J. added in issues ...more
Diana Gagliardi
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
so many things going on in this series- love it

it may make more sense if you have a background in the colonial battles of the 19th century (it's a fantasy world, but there is much that is familiar in that) but even without it has depths. Race and economic station are again forefront as is the oppression of the powerless by the powerful.

Ok ok, it's a fun fantasy mystery, but I enjoy it for its hidden social commentary as well :)

Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved loved loved loved loved Steeplejack. I was waiting impatiently for the sequel and it did not disappoint. Do you like original steampunk YA featuring badass feminist protagonists of color? Yes, of course you do. So read these. Firebrand picks up right when Steeplejack leaves off and it is so much fun to read. I need more. More. Now. Write faster, Hartley. I'm waiting, damn it. ...more
Jun 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the second book in the Steeplejack series and I continue to enjoy both the main character Ang and the way she handles the secret work she does for her employer. Ang is a strong character who always tries to do the right thing but is in a tough situation as she balances between worlds while belonging to neither. All in all a good book.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm kind of saddened that this series isn't more popular. Clearly the author was inspired by current nationalistic/racist tension and refugee crises in the making of this second book, and he does it so, so well. ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Now working as a private detective/spy, Ang may be living a financially healthier life than her years a steeplejack, but she’s in as much danger as ever. Political parties are clashing, some turning from very conservative to something darker, something much more extreme that puts people like Ang and many others in fear for their lives. Not to mention, refugees are giving their all to escape their war plagued country, but certain politicans will do whatever it takes to keep them out of the city. ...more
Carla A
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think I may have enjoyed this better than the first. While others may disagree I found the intermingling of the action with the social justice message to work pretty well. Plus the action, creepy characters, well the gargoyle is a little cheesy I will admit but over all a solid.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, 2017
A fun steampunk adventure that is also a mystery novel. (Although I could have done without (view spoiler))

I'm sure I shall read the next book, and I would recommend the series to my fellow steampunk fans.
Jolie Rice
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Just as good as the first, this convoluted plot manages to make sense the entire time, and you have no idea how everything going to come together until it does. Another great murder mystery that has you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
Syntha Green
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent sequel, and very timely issues are threaded throughout - the plight of refugees, white supremacists, etc.
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Firebrand [Mar 17, 2018] 12 34 Apr 23, 2018 08:16PM  

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